Letter: Why have masks become a political symbol?
Why has mask-wearing, a simple way to protect many vulnerable individuals from the potentially deadly effects of COVID-19, become so political? Wearing masks is not a new concept. Masks have been used since the middle ages to protect people from spreading deadly bacteria and viruses. However, since the onset of the pandemic, many have questioned the efficacy of masks and have even become hostile toward those who choose to wear them.
My brother has become a victim of this hostility. He has a 3-year-old daughter with a dangerous heart condition. Her doctors have asserted that if she caught COVID-19, she would likely not survive. Although many have stopped wearing masks in public facilities, he and his wife cannot. However, this action to protect their daughter has been met with aggression and shame. At a grocery store, a stranger passed my brother and said, “A mask? Really?” On another recent occasion, a different stranger passed my brother with a chuckle and stated, “Has the government really got you that scared?”
This type of treatment leaves vulnerable individuals trying to protect themselves or their vulnerable family members feeling uncomfortable in their own community. However, we do not know other people’s circumstances. If they knew my brother had a high-risk 3-year-old daughter at home, would they still treat him this way? Can we change this culture of judgment and divide into one of empathy and harmony? Finally, can we not make assumptions about our fellow neighbors and instead treat each other with respect and kindness?
Lindsay Cowdin, Lehi